‘Bring your own water to school’

2018-11-23 06:00

THIS past week temperatures soared up to 30ºC in many areas of the country and people have been advised to drink plenty of water. A rural school, Bethel Junior Secondary from Matatiele, also told its pupils to bring water bottles to school in order to be able to learn more effectively.

The school maintains that they do not have enough water to supply their pupils as they are dependant on rainwater to fill up their two water tanks. As a way of saving water, pupils and teachers have been coming to school carrying water bottles for drinking purposes.

According to school principal Michael Nketle, the school’s flush toilets are not working because there is not enough water and even water tanks are running dry because there is no rain.

“The school was previously using pit toilets. Flush toilets were built in 2013. But just less than a year ago we stopped using flush toilets after we experienced water shortages. We have a school nutrition programme, in which we buy 5 000 litres of water for R3 500 to fill up our water tanks, but this does not last even one month.

“To cope with the situation, pupils have been informed to come to school with water for drinking,” he said, adding that pupils often fill up their water bottles straight out of a nearby dam.

Nketle said he had sent a number of letters requesting that government put taps in the school, but this was in vain. He also indicated that members of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) were told about the situation when they visited the school in 2016.

The school currently has 649 pupils from Grade R to Grade 8. Nketla said staff members drive almost 24 km from Matatiele to the school.

“It is very sad to see pupils going to school with bottles of water just to save themselves from the thirst in these catastrophic high temperatures. Some of the children fetch water from the nearby dams, which is not clean. Pupils are also using pit toilets and sometimes go to the bush to relieve themselves,” he said. He appealed to any good samaritan out there to come to their rescue.

The Department of Education Alfred Nzo West District Director Lungelo Mthatyana said a company was hired to install boreholes in the school, but they experienced some problems. He said the matter will be attended to.

Eastern Cape Department of Education spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima said of the situation:“It is difficult for the Department of Education to provide clean running water to a school when there is no water from the village.

“It is the responsibility of district municipalities to provide water to villages.”

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